Basketball Opponents 2015-2016: Through January 13, 2016

Submitted by Hail_Yes on January 13th, 2016 at 6:59 PM

I did some research on the D1 opponents we have played thus far and put together a little something to summarize how they've fared through this point of the season.  I recorded our score against said team, what their record is, what their Kenpom ranking is, and wrote down a few notes on how their season has gone.  I characterized our wins and losses against our opponents this year using this metric:

Wins:  Great (Kenpom 1-25), Good (26-50), Decent (50-100), Meh (100+)

Losses: Not Bad At All (1-25), Not Bad (25-50), Borderline Bad (50-100), Bad (100+)

Road wins get bumped up one catgory.  For example, our road win at NC State (Kenpom 78) gets the bump from "Decent" to "Good" for being a road win.  Similarly, home losses get bumped one category down.


Elon (W 88-68):  11-6 Overall, 2-2 CAA

Kenpom: 163

Notes:  Elon has lost to anybody of significance thus far; a very average mid-major team.

Win Status: Meh


Xavier (L 86-70):  15-1 Overall, 3-1 Big East

Kenpom: 10

Notes:  Xavier has been one of the best teams in the country so far this year.  They have a list of quality wins including Butler, Cincinnati, Dayton, USC, 3 SEC teams, and Wake Forest.  The only loss they suffered was a blowout at Villanova when guard Evan Sumner was injured when a Villanova defender landed on his head.  This team is likely to be in the 1-4 seed range come March.

Loss status: Not Bad


UConn (L 74-60): 11-4 Overall, 3-1 American

Kenpom: 37

Notes: UConn hold two quality non-conference wins against OSU and at Texas, but have suffered losses at the hands of Syracuse, Gonzaga, Maryland, and Temple.  This is a hard team to get a read on.  Their play in the American will show whether or not this team truly is a contender.

Loss Status: Not Bad


Charlotte (W 102-47): 4-11 overall, 1-2 C-USA

Kenpom: 230

Notes: Charlotte isn't quite as bad as their record leads you to believe, but they're still pretty bad.  

Win status: Meh


Texas (W 78-72):  10-6 overall, 2-2 Big 12

Kenpom: 58

Notes: Texas has done a quality job of defending home court this year, with a 2-1 record against Kenpom Top-40 teams (Wins against UNC and Iowa St., Loss to Uconn).  Away from home is a different story.  Texas has lost to Washington, Michigan, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and TCU away from home.  They're going to have to step up their game if they want to make the dance, as 13 of their last 15 games come against teams that are currently Top-50 in Kenpom. 

Win Status: Decent


NC State (W 66-59): 10-6 overall, 0-3 ACC

Kenpom: 78

Notes:  NC State started the year off on the wrong note when William and Mary ran them out of the gym.  It really hasn't gotten better for the Wolfpack.  They picked up a quality win against LSU, but had close games with almost every mid-major team they played.  They've lost their first three ACC games by 13 points total, and are about to enter a 5 game gauntlet that includes Duke, North Carolina, Pitt, and Miami.  Likely not a tournament team this year.

Win Status: Good


Houston Baptist (W 82-57): 8-7 overall, 3-0 Southland

Kenpom: 267

Notes: Not a very good team.  The Huskies have beaten the 3 bottom teams in the Southland Conference, and those teams all rank below 330 on Kenpom.

Win Status: Meh


SMU (L 82-58): 15-0 overall, 4-0 American

Kenpom: 15

Notes: One of two undefeated teams left in D1.  Their seemingly low ranking is due to strength of schedule, which is 250th according to Kenpom.  They have beaten two top-40 teams in Michigan and Cincinnati.  Trips to Houston, Uconn, Cincinnati, and a home date with Gonzaga will determine how good this team really is.  If they could play the postseason this year, they certainly look the part of a 2-4 seed.  

Loss Status: Not Bad At All


Delaware State (W 80-33): 1-14 overall, 0-1 MEAC

Kenpom: 349 (out of 351)

Notes: They are a D1 team that put up 33 points against an average defense. That is all you need to know.

Win Status: Meh


Northern Kentucky (W 77-62): 4-10 overall, 0-3 Horizon

Kenpom: 282

Notes:  The Norse have lost their first three Horizon league games by a combined 41 points.  The only true bright spots on their season are not getting blown out by Michigan and Xavier.

Win Status: Meh


Youngstown State (W 105-46):  7-10 overall, 2-2 Horizon

Kenpom: 222

Notes: Another average-at-best mid-major team.  Blown out by any team of significance. 

Win Status: Meh


Bryant (W 96-60): 6-11 overall, 3-1 NEC

Kenpom: 294

Notes:  Bryant got absolutely slaughtered in non-conference play, earning only two wins (one against a D2 squad).  They're off to a good start in conference play though, with their only conference loss thus far on the road at Wagner, who currently sits atop the NEC.

Win Status: Meh


Illinois (W 78-68): 9-8 overall, 1-3 B1G

Kenpom: 97

Notes: The Fighting Illini are a confusing team, as always.  They have played good games against good competition, such as a win against Purdue and close losses to Iowa State, Providence and Notre Dame.  On the other hand, they have also had some baffling losses, such as North Florida and Chattanooga at the beginning of the year.  They opened B1G play with Michigan, MSU, OSU, and Purdue, a tough opening that certainly attributed to their 1-3 record thus far.  They're going to need to pick up some more quality wins and beat the bottom level teams of the B1G if they even want to sniff the tournament bubble.

Win Status: Good


Penn State (W 79-56): 10-7 overall, 1-3 B1G

Kenpom: 151

Notes: Another year, another bad Penn State basketball team.  The Nittany Lions were crushed by Duquesne early in the season, and also have a loss to Radford.  Their best game of the year was probably against Maryland, where they took the Terps down to the wire before succombing in the end.  Likely another season spent in the basement of the Big Ten for Penn State.

Win Status: Meh


Purdue (L 87-70): 14-3 overall, 2-2 B1G

Kenpom: 13

Notes:  The Boilermakers are a very solid squad this year, but their weak non-conference schedule showed itself when they entered Big Ten play.  Purdue suffered losses 2 and 3 on the year to Iowa and Illinois respectively.  Their only other loss comes at the hands of a good Butler squad.  This is a team that is going to improve as the year goes on, and if they learn to shoot like they did against Michigan on a consistent basis, they'll be a terrifying team come tourney time.  Likely a 2-5 seed in the big dance.

Loss Status: Not Bad At All


Maryland (W 70-67): 15-2 overall, 4-1 B1G

Kenpom: 14

Notes:  Unlike Rutgers, Maryland has certainly proven that it is worthy of playing basketball in the Big Ten.  The Terps only lost one non-conference game, and that was in Chapel Hill to an excellent UNC team.  The Terps still have much to prove however, as their best wins have come against UConn and Northwestern,  neither of which are top-30 Kenpom teams.  If this team plays up to it's potential it will most likely be a 1-seed come tournament time.  If not, the lowest they'll fall is a 4 or 5 seed.

Win Status: Great


Overall Opponent Record: 150-106 (.586)


Michigan Record vs.

Kenpom 1-50: 1-4

Kenpom 50-100: 3-0

Kenpom 100+: 8-0


Currently ranked 31st in Kenpom, Michigan is sitting in a good place with no losses outside the top-50 and a signature win against an excellent Maryland squad.   According to Kenpom, if the season were to end right now the Wolverines would be an 8-seed.  If they continue to take care of business against teams they should beat and rack up a few more quality wins, there's no reason this team couldn't be a 4 or 5 seed come March. 



January 13th, 2016 at 7:16 PM ^

Good post and thanks for putting together. My only counterpoint would be that the way we lost to Xavier, UConn, and especially SMU would make them bad losses, regardless of their Kenpom rankings. 


January 13th, 2016 at 8:36 PM ^

Getting blown out by SMU and Xavier is no embarrassment, given that Xavier is a possible 1 seed and that SMU could be if they were eligible. Beating Maryland without Levert is an outstanding win, and the Texas win is looking better every day. The schedule sets up well to get to about 12-6 in the B1G, which should keep us around that 6-7 level, which is a good spot to make a deep run.


January 14th, 2016 at 1:28 PM ^

Question - why do you have the Texas win as "decent" but the NC State win as "good", what with Texas being better by pretty much every objective measure?  I assume becase NC State was a road win and Texas as neutral court?


January 14th, 2016 at 1:40 PM ^

"Road wins get bumped up one catgory.  For example, our road win at NC State (Kenpom 78) gets the bump from "Decent" to "Good" for being a road win.  Similarly, home losses get bumped one category down."


January 14th, 2016 at 6:52 PM ^

I considered using personal opinion for the NC State win, but road wins are just really tough to come by in college basketball, regardless of how good the other team is.  For example, our Runner-Up team in 2013 lost at Penn State late in the season. Four games later we played them on a neutral court and beat them by 17.  A team has to be really bad for a road win to not be considered "good." 


January 14th, 2016 at 2:11 PM ^

Interesting to see the season thus far in this format. 11-0 vs "not-so-great" teams shows that Michigan takes care of business, but 1-4 against Top 50 Kenpom teams shows that this squad isn't quite there yet. They look like a 7 or 8 seed right now. With a healthy Caris, I think they'll end up a 6 seed comfortably.


January 14th, 2016 at 2:37 PM ^

Good stuff.  I never worried after the Xavier or SMU losses, as those are really good teams.  UConn was a different beast, but it was a weird tournament in a ballroom, so who knew how that affected the players.

This is a bubble-ish team, and will be unless they win a couple more big games.  But they seem to have the offense to weather the "bad" losses that can sneak up on you.


January 14th, 2016 at 3:52 PM ^

and very informative..Thanks for taking the time to put that together..


One of the reasons I love College basketball is that I can watch other games and get invested in them as it refers to Michigan..I look at the Daily RPI see whose ahead and right behnd us and thus Ill watch those games..I get to see ALOT of NCAA basketball. If Michigan is in the hunt for the tourney all these games matter...Our RPI and SOS has improved alot the last two weeks. A win at Iowa would be monumental...MONUMENTAL


January 15th, 2016 at 11:40 AM ^

The key part of the schedule (and this has been mentioned by Brian and Ace and other commenters) is some of the out of conference teams scheduled. 

Houston Baptist (W 82-57): 8-7 overall, 3-0 Southland

Kenpom: 267

Notes: Not a very good team.  The Huskies have beaten the 3 bottom teams in the Southland Conference, and those teams all rank below 330 on Kenpom.

Win Status: Meh


Delaware State (W 80-33): 1-14 overall, 0-1 MEAC

Kenpom: 349 (out of 351)


Northern Kentucky (W 77-62): 4-10 overall, 0-3 Horizon

Kenpom: 282



Youngstown State (W 105-46):  7-10 overall, 2-2 Horizon

Kenpom: 222

Notes: Another average-at-best mid-major team.  Blown out by any team of significance. 

Win Status: Meh


Bryant (W 96-60): 6-11 overall, 3-1 NEC

Kenpom: 294


All above 200 (and Delaware State wow). This drags down the strength of schedule numbers way more than it should. I understand maybe 1-2 tomato cans but 5 is way too many. Michigan should be scheduling local teams (Oakland, Detroit, Eastern, Western) so that it increases the non-conference SOS and also makes for a more entertaining schedule.